(Photo of Bush and Obama: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)Voters are increasingly displeased with President Obama's handling of the economy, but a new poll finds most Americans still think George W. Bush is responsible for the nation's dismal financial state.
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 54 percent of those surveyed say Bush is responsible for the "current condition" of the economy, compared to just 27 percent who blame Obama. Among self-described independent voters, a key 2012 voting bloc, the number shifts slightly: 49 percent point the finger at the former GOP president, while 24 percent blame Obama.
Supporters of Obama's re-election will no doubt view the number as a good sign for the president's bid for a second term. But they shouldn't get excited yet.
Polls over the last year have consistently found that voters continue to blame Bush more than Obama for the struggling economy. Yet Obama and Democrats have consistently struggled to translate that displeasure with Bush into a vote against GOP candidates.
But that could be changing. While Obama's approval rating on the economy is nothing short of dismal—just 38 percent approve—the Quinnipiac poll finds more Americans trust the president on the issue than the GOP congress, 45 percent to 38 percent. Meanwhile, 48 percent of those surveyed say they will blame the GOP congress if a debt deal isn't approved, compared to 34 percent who say they will blame the Obama administration.
Those aren't great numbers for Republicans who are likely to face just as much political peril as Obama in 2012 if the economy doesn't improve over the next year.
The Quinnipiac poll also finds major support for one of the concessions Obama has called for in the debt deal: 67 percent say any deal on the deficit should also include tax increases on the wealthy and corporations, in addition to spending cuts.